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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Drugs. Lots of them.

Last night I was up late watching the idiot box and turned over and just watched a programme entailing the plod catching crims possessing small amounts of cocaine and other illegal substances. From what I gathered just a few grams was sufficient apparently to charge the owner with “intent to supply”.
A few grams. That’s nothing in my book.
A few years back, I was serving on the APT(N). (Atlantic Patrol Tanker(North)).
wave knight (1)
Our mission was four fold.
1. Protect British interests.
2. Disaster relief.

3. Anti drug operations.

4. Advanced guard for the invasion to take the USA back into British ownership. (Ok I made this one up, just to see if you are still awake.)
Our primary area of operations was the waters of the Caribbean, with our base in Barbados.
Most of our time that trip was taken up with option 3, the anti drugs operation. Most of the time working with American assets. Maritime patrol aircraft, The USCG, and the USN,
Apart from our usual on-board assets such as the ship’s weaponry, we also carried a boarding team from the USGG, a lynx helicopter, and some very secret listening equipment.

One day we were ordered out to sea to track and maybe intercept a couple of Contacts of interest (COI) heading out of the Caribbean.
After some days we closed with the first COI and proceeded to shadow it over night until daybreak. During this time we would launch the Lynx to scan the vessel with it’s thermal imaging system. Just before daybreak the Lynx would be launched and head to the COI and call for it to heave to (Stop). At the same time we would go to maximum speed and close with the COI as quickly as possible. Or so it's supposed to happen.

What actually happened is that the propulsion control was set to maximum, followed by a muffled bang, and a slowing to a stop by the vessel. We'd blown a thyristor in the synchroconvertor system. (This the electrickery that converts the AC electrical supply from the generators into DC supply required by the propulsion motors.). That's sod's law at it's best.

I can see your eyelids starting to droop. Wake up at the back. It's my blog and you will stay awake .

(God I'm a boring writer) I'm not sure I want to write anymore of this as I've got to proof read it.

Still here goes.

Finally after hasty repairs we launched the Lynx again and hastened in pursuit, finally closing with the COI of interest that had been stopped by a carefully aimed burst of machine gun fire across it's bow. by the door gunner in the Lynx.

Immediately we launched our Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) full to bursting with  heavily armed CG personnel who boarded the vessel. Although the vessel was suspicious in that it had rather more oil drums on deck for a fishing vessel, and a paucity of fishing gear, nothing was found. Although chemical swabs showed that there had been cocaine onboard at sometime. So after giving them some water (Actually in the spirit of seafarers everywhere we gave them a case of beer as well), we let them go.

Thinking that was that, we turned round and headed back to Barbados, thinking about the beach and Rum punches that they do so well there.

Think again. Shortly afterwards we were ordered to track another COI and board it. After carrying out the same procedure as before we boarded this vessel also (a bigger fishing vessel). And what did we find?

A small amount of Cocaine? Well if you can call 3.2 Metric Tonnes small. That is 3,200 kilos, or Three million, two hundred thousand grammes. Now that has a street value uncut, at $225,000,000.

Of course you would think that we should just have thrown the Cocaine overboard. No because the vessel was flagged to a foreign country by international agreement they had to decide what was to become of it.

So we eventually had to take it to (That's another story entirely) the country of origin , Venezuela. Which we did.

I suspect the cargo was turned round in short order and re-exported. (Why we didn't quietly sidle off and sell it and the our ship as a job lot on E bay I'll never know).

OI, wake up at the back, the story's over.


  1. So Chavez isn't just raking it in from the oil wells....?

  2. So what's to stop some other navy intercepting the smugglers ship as it's being taken to Venezuela? How are they to know that it's already been captured. They could be well within their rights to board and confiscate it and put the UK sailors in jail for drug smuggling. And if there is some agreement so that this situation doesn't happen, what's to stop some smugglers doing the same with the connivence of their country's navy. Or does that just become all out war of our navy against tinpot dictator navy?

    And then we get into the whole anti-drugs aspect and the huge cost. I bet the cost of navies stopping ships is not factored into the cost of the war on drugs. What next since the new puritan bansturbators are looking for new targets. Alcohol smuggling by ship?

    1. We ended up towing it to Venezuela as it's engine destroyed it self.

  3. Watched the SS San Demetrio again the other evening. Which actor was playing you, FE?

  4. The war on drugs can never be won when people are USERS. Don't blame the farmer trying to feed his family...blame the fuckers who are snorting it.

    1. I'm not blaming anyone Leaperman. I just don't see a way of stopping it. When it comes down to heroin from the poppies in Afghanistan, I just wonder why the western world doesn't agree to pay the farmers a reasonable price for their crop, and buy it all up.

    2. Because that would really piss off the taliban. You'd have to make sure the farmers could defend themselves or they soon become unto the Norwegian Blue.

    3. I just wonder why the western world doesn't agree to pay the farmers a reasonable price for their crop, and buy it all up.

      The craziest part about the Afghan battle against poppy growers is that there is a worldwide shortage of medical morphine. Go figure, as they say...


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